With the Arizona Cardinals set to kick off their season on Sunday at home against the Seattle Seahawks, we are at the point where we much predict the season. As such, the SB Nation Arizona staff has made predictions for the season and how many wins the Cardinals will have.
To be honest, it is pretty brutal. There is very little hope given. The quarterback situation and the preseason play of the offensive line has apparently sucked away all the optimism for this season. That is, except for mine. But then again, you might call me an optimist (or a homer).
Let's have a look at the predictions.
Projected record: 6-10
From what I have seen so far out of the Cardinals' offense, it doesn't look like they are in for a big season. Sure, the defense should be good, but with no offensive line and a below average quarterback under center, how is the team supposed to score? I just don't think it's in the cards for the Cards this season.
Projected record: 7-9
I don't doubt that the Cardinals will pull out one or two surprise upsets like last year but I only count five games that I consider locks for wins. Additionally, Arizona could get out of the gate slow with Seattle, New England and Philadelphia, which will only lead to more quarterback controversy and less confidence in the locker room. I also wouldn't be shocked if coach Whisenhunt is canned for Russ Grimm heading into their bye week if they're 3-6 or something close (which is quite plausible). Don't get me wrong, I think this team has a lot more good then bad going for them currently which will make most of their matchups close. But at the end of the day, Arizona is still lacking consistency at the quarterback and offensive line positions. And with no guarantees they'll catch that magical late-season spark for the second straight year, those two deficiencies will be too much to overcome even with an up-and-coming defense and a plethora of solid offensive weapons.
Projected record: 5-11
The Cardinals will have the worst offensive line in football, and that is never a good thing. The defense has been very inconsistant this preseason and we have to see what advances they make in year two under Ray Horton. The last five weeks of the season (@NYJ, @SEA, DET, CHI, @SF) are absolutely brutal. Combine that with early game against New England and Philadelphia, the Cardinals boast one of the toughest schedules in the league.
Projected record: 6-10
The non-division schedule is too difficult, and they could very well go winless over the last four games of the regular season having to go to Seattle, play Detroit and Chicago at home and end at San Francisco. Plus Skelton is a safe quarterback but not a big playmaker type, at least not yet.
Projected record: 3-13
Projected record: 9-7
Am I the only one drinking the Kool-Aid? Perhaps. But among all the despair, I remember how the defense played a season ago with Kerry Rhodes out and less cornerback talent. I also a see a special teams unit that could be truly special, with the returning capabilities, the kicking consistency and the fact that they have multiple players with a knack for getting their fingers on the ball when opponents kick.
John Skelton has not been spectacular, but his decision making has been solid for the most part. More importantly, he has the confidence you want. Add that to a running game that could be more than decent and you have a team built a lot like the 2011 49ers. Is the team going to have 13 wins...or even double digit wins? Not likely. I see a team that will play well at home (as it has done since 2007) and struggles on the road. At home, they will almost run the table, winning seven of their eight contests. They will pick up a win in St. Louis and sneak away with a win against the Jets. Will they make the playoffs? That's a longshot.
But will the be competitive? Absolutely.
It's not all doom and gloom for me.